Natural Gas

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The 10 Biggest Energy Company Bankruptcies





Running a multi-billion dollar energy company isn’t easy. Just ask the executives in the corner suites of some of the energy companies that have gone bust over the years. Some, like Enron, were brought down because of insider malfeasance. A few, like ATP, blamed damaging government policies, while others went off the rails due to market forces that left the company and its shareholders flat-footed, deep in debt, and eventually broke. Here are the bankruptcies that will be etched into the tombstones of failed energy fortunes for time immemorial.

 
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China, Russia Sign CNY150 Billion Local-Currency Swap As Plunging Oil Prices Sting Putin





While Russia's economy is hurting, desperate to overthrow the tentacles of the Petrodollar, and is urgently pivoting toward Beijing, the cherry on top came moments ago when, as if to assure all involved parties that there will be enough capital support on both sides, the PBOC released a surprising announcement that the central banks of China and Russia signed a 3-year, 150 billion yuan bilateral local-currency swap deal today, according to a statement posted on PBOC website. Deal can be expanded if both parties agree, statement says. Deal aims to make bilateral trade and direct investment more    convenient and promote economic development in 2 nations.

 
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Guest Post: Qatar's Jihad





Qatar may be tiny, but it is having a major impact across the Arab world. By propping up violent jihadists in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond, while supporting the United States in its fight against them, this gas-rich speck of a country – the world’s wealthiest in per capita terms – has transformed itself from a regional gadfly into an international rogue elephant. Using its vast resources, and driven by unbridled ambition, Qatar has emerged as a hub for radical Islamist movements. In doing so, Qatar is destabilizing several countries and threatening the security of secular democracies far beyond the region. For the sake of regional and international security, this elephant must be tamed.

 
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The Oil Weapon: A New Way To Wage War





It was heinous. It was underhanded. It was beyond the bounds of international morality. It was an attack on the American way of life. It was what you might expect from unscrupulous Arabs. It was “the oil weapon” -- and back in 1973, it was directed at the United States. Skip ahead four decades and it’s smart, it’s effective, and it’s the American way. The Obama administration has appropriated it as a major tool of foreign policy, a new way to go to war with nations it considers hostile without relying on planes, missiles, and troops.  It is, of course, that very same oil weapon.

 
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Russia Central Banks Scrambles To Halt Plunging Ruble, Spends Over $2 Billion In Last Three Days As Inflation Soars





After stoically ignoring the impact of its tumbling currency on the domestic economy (and as a reminder, Japan would kill for a currency collapse of this magnitude: just think of the "economic renaissance" that would result if only Abenomics was right about killing your currency leading to growth... which it isn't), the Kremlin is finally starting to feel the pinch leading to the biggest central bank intervention in FX markets since the start of the Ukraine campaign, buying Rubles for a third consecutive day at an amount of over $2 billion, with $1.75 billion purchased in the first two days of the current intervention attempt, and another $420 million in foreign currencies sold overnight according to Bank of Russia data.

 
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Guest Post: Turkey, The Kurds And Iraq - The Prize & Peril Of Kirkuk





The modern Turkish government is looking at Iraq and Syria in a way similar to how Damat Ferid did almost a century ago when he sought in Paris to maintain Turkish sovereignty over the region. From Ankara's point of view, the extension of a Turkish sphere of influence into neighboring Muslim lands is the antidote to weakening Iraqi and Syrian states. However, the Turkish vision of the region simply does not fit the current reality and is earning Ankara more rebuke than respect from its neighbors and the West. The Kurds, in particular, will continue to form the Achilles' heel of Turkish policymaking. This is the crowded battleground that Turkey knows well. A long and elaborate game of "keep away" will be played to prevent the Kurds from consolidating control over oil-rich territory in the Kurdish-Arab borderland, while the competition between Turkey and Iran will emerge into full view.

 
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Silver “Particularly Cheap” as “Blood On The Commodity Streets”





Relative to stock market indices, broad commodity indices are now at their lowest levels since the late-1990s dot com boom. Key commodity price ratios, such as those between precious and industrial metals, are already at levels associated with financial crises such as that of 2008. In other words, there is already ‘blood on the commodity streets’, presenting investors and commodity traders with potentially attractive opportunities.

 
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The Siege Of Kobani: Obama's Syrian Fiasco In Motion





Another humanitarian catastrophe may be just hours away at Kobani - a Syrian Kurdish town on the border with Turkey that is now surrounded by ISIS tanks and is being pounded day after day by ISIS heavy artillery. Already this lethal phalanx, which fuses 21st century American technology and equipment with 12th century religious fanaticism, has rolled through dozens of Kurdish villages and towns in the region around Kobani, sending 180,000 refugees fleeing for their lives across the border. Self-evidently the lightly armed Kurdish militias desperately holding out in Kobani are fighting the right enemy - that is, the Islamic State. So why has Obama’s grand coalition been unable to relieve the siege?

 
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Congress Considers Federal Assistance For Laid-Off Coal Miners





A major coal mining company has announced another round of layoffs as declining demand for coal continues to depress the industry. The closures will put 261 people out of work. The news has a familiar refrain; more than 20,000 coal miners have lost their jobs since 2011. Compare that to the solar industry, which employs around 143,000 people, according the Solar Energy Industries Association. The fortunes of the two energy industries will only diverge further in coming years. Sadly, many political leaders in coal producing states have not planned for a future without coal. Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) have introduced a bill in Congress to help out-of-work coal miners providing a year’s worth of benefits, including training and support for relocation.

 
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The World's 10 Biggest Energy Gluttons





Next time you get into your car and drive to the supermarket, think about how much energy you consume on an annual basis. It is widely assumed that Westerners are some of the world’s worst energy pigs. While Americans make up just 5 percent of the global population, they use 20 percent of its energy, eat 15 percent of its meat, and produce 40 percent of the earth’s garbage. Europeans and people in the Middle East, it turns out, aren't winning any awards for energy conservation, either. Oilprice.com set out to discover which countries use the most energy and why. While some of the guilty parties are obvious, others may surprise you.

 
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Did The Winter War Just Begin? Russian Gas Supplies To Europe Plunge 15%, Ukraine Transit Slashed 54%





Just a week ago, the Russian energy minister made the first public 'threat' of gas supply "throttling" disruptions to Europe but judging by the data that has just been released, it appears the 'throttling' has begun. Bloomberg reports that Russian gas supplies to Europe fell 15% year-over-year in Q3 - the most in over two years - as natural gas transit through Ukraine plunged 54% year-over-year. In 2013, Gazprom sent 60% of its supply via Ukraine pipelines, in August that dropped to 39%, and in September only 34%. Of course, Europe remains confident its storage efforts will buffer any "Winter War" disruptions, as we noted here, but as Citi warned previously, "if colder weather arrives, storage levels will be drained," and then there is the Spring (and German industry needs).

 
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Frontrunning: September 30





  • Hong Kong protesters stockpile supplies, fear fresh police advance (Reuters)
  • Protesters stay out on Hong Kong streets, defying Beijing (Reuters)
  • Traders Turn Up Grilling Sausages at Hong Kong Protests (BBG)
  • Ukraine Army Sees Worst Day Since Truce as Battles Flare (BBG)
  • Islamic State uses grain to tighten grip in Iraq (Reuters)
  • For Putin Ally, U.S. Sanctions Only Add to Anti-Russia Conspiracy Theory (WSJ)
  • Coinbase Leads Move to Bring Bitcoin to Masses (BBG) - good luck
  • Austria Cracks Down on Spies -- and Jihadis (BBG)
  • EU Believes Apple, Fiat Tax Deals Broke Rules (WSJ); Apple’s Irish Tax Deal ‘Engineered’ to Boost Employment, EU Says (BBG)
 
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The Oil Head-Fake: The Illusion that Lower Oil Prices Are Positive





The essence of the Oil Head-Fake Dynamic is the inevitable drop in oil price resulting from a sharp decline in demand (i.e. global recession) will trigger disruption of the global oil supply chain that will eventually push prices higher than most currently think possible.

 
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Ukraine PM Cries "Russia Wants Us To Freeze" As Locals Prepare For A Long, Cold Winter





We would like to be able to commiserate with Ukraine's US-muppet regime, we really would, but when Ukraine's PM Argeny Yatseniuk, or Yats as he is known to Victoria Nuland, almost cried in an interview with Reuters yesterday when he pleaded that "[Russia] wants us to freeze... This is the aim and this is another trump card in Russian hands.... So, except military offense, except military operation against Ukraine, they have another trump card, which is energy". we have just two things to say to him: i) he is absolutely correct, about Russia having the trump card that is - something obvious to everyone with half a brain from the start of the conflict, and ii) perhaps Ukraine should finally pay Gazprom not only for the gas they would like to use in the future, but also the gas they have already used and payment for which is overdue and which the IMF, i.e., the US taxpayer, gave Ukraine explicit money to pay for and instead was embezzled by the people in power.

 
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Fracked Up: Don't Believe In Miracles





There is no doubt that fracking stopped the long-term decline in U.S. oil output. Since the all-time low output in 2006, daily oil production has increased by 30%. Natural gas production has soared even higher, but seems to have leveled off. Ignoring the environmental impacts of fracking, just the economics alone show that shale oil and gas are not the miracle that will save us from the perils of peak cheap oil. Fracking extraction of oil is extremely expensive. If oil prices were to fall to $80 per barrel, there would be no profits for frackers. They would stop drilling wells. So don’t plan on ever paying less than $3 per gallon for gasoline ever again. Don’t believe in miracles.

 
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